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Federal Analysis

The federal government has traditionally left family law to the discretion of the states. There are very few federal regulations pertaining to the age a citizen must be to initiate legal proceedings. The only clear age determination that the federal government regulates has to do with voting restrictions. The federal government allows all citizens over the age of eighteen to vote.148 Other than voting laws, the federal government delineates age through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, stating ``the capacity of an individual, other than one acting in a representative capacity, to sue or be sued shall be determined by the law of the individual's domicile.''149 It does seem from recent decisions that the United States Supreme Court may be leaning towards giving minors more legal rights, but so far the decisions have only affected state statutes regarding abortion.150 One law review article does give the impression that ``the question of whether a minor has standing to sue on his or her own behalf remains an open one.''151 However, given JRI's limited resources, it would be easier to leave the federal government to continue in its policy of leaving family issues to each specific state and work on changing Massachusetts laws directly.



Footnotes

...148
U.S. Const. amend. XXVI 1.
...149
Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(b) (Lexis 2001).
...150
Bellotti v Baird, 443 U.S. 622 (1979); Curry v. Dempsey, 701 F.2d 580 (1983)
...151
Jana Micek, Rights of Children: The Childs Right to Access to the Courts, 11 J. Contemp. Leg. Issues 656 (Lexis 2000).

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